Azusa Pacific (Calif.) won its first-ever soccer championship with a 2-1 victory over Simon Fraser (B.C.) in the NAIA Women's final match played in Mobile, Ala.
It was the second consecutive runner-up finish for Simon Fraser, which won the 1996 title but fell to Mobile in the 1997 final.
Azusa forward Kendra Payne opened the scoring in the 42nd minute. She took a pass from teammate Janay Duran, dribbled quickly to her left, losing a shoe in the process, and then knocked the ball home with her shoeless left foot.
Payne, who earned tournament MVP honors, set up Kimber Carter for the second Cougar goal in the 59th minute. Simon Fraser answered just two minutes later on star Sara Maglio's fifth goal of the tournament, but was unable to get an equalizer.
Azusa Pacific advanced to the final by edging defending champion Mobile in a penalty shootout, clinching victory when former Clemson and Connecticut midfielder Carmie Landeen's spot kick went wide. Simon Fraser rallied to defeat Lindenwood (Mo.) 3-2 on Phebe Trotman's 89th-minute gamewinner.
Nov. 28 in Mobile, Ala.
Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 2 Simon Fraser (B.C.) 1. Goals: Payne (Duran) 41:36, Carter (Payne) 58:54; Maglio 61:29.
Goalkeeper -- Maureen Irwin (Dominican, N.Y.).
Defenders -- Michelle Costa (National American), Danielle Small (Mobile), Kerri Sparks (Azusa Pacific).
Midifielders -- Andrea Alfiler (Azusa Pacific), Janay Duran (Azusa Pacific), Carmie Landeen (Mobile), Laila Modi (Berry).
Forwards -- Amber Buchanan (Lindenwood), Jackie Law (Mobile), Sara Maglio (Simon Fraser), Kendra Payne (Azusa Pacific), Phebe Trotman (Simon Fraser).
MVP: Kendra Payne (Azusa Pacific).
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